Anchoring is an NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) term used to describe mindís tendency to associate two unrelated events or experiences, especially when a strong emotion is present.
For example, if your mother fed you chicken soup when you were ill as a child, you will always associate chicken soup to being loved and cared for.
On down side, if you once contracted food poisoning from eating tainted pickles, just smell of pickles will be enough to bring on a feeling of nausea many years after event.
How does anchoring work in relationships?
If you come home from work elated by a promotion and see your loverís face, you will link that feeling of elation to sight of his or her face. By same token, if you hate your job and constantly talk about those feelings over dinner with your spouse, you'll unconsciously begin to associate bad feelings with him or her.
In that case, you must make a conscious effort to share more good times with them so you will more readily associate positive feelings to sight of their face.
Sharing good times creates positive anchors or associations. It helps you to weather less positive times that every couple experiences at some stage in their relationship.
Breaking up is often result of linking too many negative anchors to sight of your partnerís face, with no knowledge of how to counteract them by deliberately creating positive ones.
Hereís a common example. A young doctor whose wife works to help him through medical school may decide to divorce her after he graduates. This is because he associates sight of her face to hard times they experienced during those years. Of course this is all unconscious Ė all he knows is that he feels bad whenever he looks at her. He mistakenly takes this as a sign that relationship isnít working.
Now that you know how anchoring works, use it intentionally to improve your relationship.
1. Plan positive events together and make sure you donít let any negativity intrude on event. Save arguments or disagreements for a later time.
2. During height of an intensely positive moment you are sharing: a. touch your loved one lightly on knee or arm b. squeeze personís hand or c. put your arms around him or her. The next time you repeat same gesture with this person in some other context, it will reawaken some of those original emotions in them.